May 4, 2016
Architecture Heritage

Bruno Julius Florian Taut (4 May 1880 – 24 December 1938)
Text and pictures taken from domus No. 611, November 1980

A hundred years after the birth of Bruno Taut (1880-1938) we revisit his last work: the house that he built on his return from Japan to Istanbul and where he lived until his death.
If challenched to sum up Taut’s work, we might start by identifying three definite periods in his eventful life. The first was characterized by progressive experimentation in modern materials and techniques and was crowned with brilliant built designs. The second was an agitated period: Taut, the visionary with utopian urges, turning acrobatically in the air with no thought for the ground. The third was marked by severe realism, occasionally going beyond the limits of the International Style to show the fascination of a certain type of romantic Expressionism (cf. his design for stores and offices at Magdeburg).
The house that Taut built for himself in Istanbul is a perfect synthesis of his whole career, shaken by antithetical tendencies but profoundly imbued with humanism. Nestling on the wooden European shore of the Bosphorus it is now close to the gigantic pylons of the recent suspension bridges. Its scheme – one storey and a belvedere – is in accord with the essential characteristics of Turkish and Japanese architecture, without ever falling into banal eclecticism. In other words, not the forms have been taken, stylized and interpreted by Taut, but the abstract essence. Through the definition of new needs and new means, the deep principles of two different cultures flow together and intertwine in a totally modern configuration.